Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell laughed off criticism from his Democratic challenger Amy McGrath regarding his response to the coronavirus pandemic. During the Monday night debate, which marked the first and perhaps the only of the campaign for Senate, McGrath grilled McConnell for failing to pass an additional stimulus relief package, including the May-introduced HEROES Act.
Taking aim at her opponent, McGrath, a retired Marine combat pilot, slammed McConnell for his inaction, noting that "The House passed a bill in May and the Senate went on vacation." As McConnell chuckled, she continued, stating, "I mean, you just don't do that. You negotiate. Senator, it is a national crisis, you knew that the coronavirus wasn't gonna end at the end of July. We knew that." When McConnell attempted to interject, McGrath said, "if you want to call yourself a leader…you got to get things done and those of us who served in the Marines, we don't just point fingers at the other side. We get the job done."
Mitch McConnell LAUGHS when called out for his lack of action on COVID. #KYSen
"If you want to call yourself a leader you got to get things done." pic.twitter.com/dHbXDf28OQ— Kelsie Taggart (@kelsientaggart) October 12, 2020
According to The Hill, McGrath also accused her opponent of a "dereliction of duty to not be negotiating and working on this." Elsewhere in the debate, she said that while McConnell "all summer long…took a vacation," Kentucky had "a million Kentuckians that have filed for unemployment sometime in the last six months. We have 300,000 Kentuckians that still don't have health care in the middle of a coronavirus, and he's walking away from negotiations."
For his part, The Guardian reports that McConnell placed blame on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Stating that he knows "how to make deals" and noting that he "made three major deals with Joe Biden during the Obama era," he claimed that "what the problem is here is the unwillingness of the speaker to make a deal."
Pelosi had led Democrats in introducing the HEROES Act back in May and had led the House of Representatives in voting in favor of the bill in a vote of 208-199 later that month. Once it reached McConnell's desk, however, it remained stalled, as he refused to bring it to the Senate floor for a vote, dubbing it a "$3 trillion left-wing wish list." Since then, several other bills, including the HEALS Act and what is being dubbed the HEROES Act 2.0, have been introduced, the latter of which was also approved by the House.